I noticed a few months ago that Goodyear were looking for parents to review their new driving academy parent pack. It is essentially a way to introduce road safety awareness to kids as they approach the legal age to drive. As the mother of a son who is desperate to get behind the wheel I am really keen on this. They were asking for kids who were over 11 years old and might like to have a sample lesson at their driving academy. I wonder who i knew who would like to do that?
I was pretty sure that my son would love to have a go at driving. He is a firm car fan, loves to watch a bit of formula one with his dad and i know cannot wait till he can drive a car on the roads. So this new scheme seemed to be a really good fit!
Goodyear is on a mission to teach children the importance of road safety in a bid to help lower young driver road accidents – it thinks we need to try to address the attitudes and behaviours which are at the root of the issue. Goodyear believes that currently too much emphasis can be put on young people passing their driving test rather than applying a true road safety approach learnt over time. The system of one theory test, one hazard perception test and one practical test is not enough.
Goodyear is passionate about ensuring young drivers have a thorough understanding of road safety via a graduated learning programme, which can come from educating children from an early age , to allow them the freedom and enjoyment of safe driving once they are behind the wheel.
About the Goodyear Driving Academy
In 2011, Goodyear introduced its Driving Academy into schools across the UK. The Academy teaches children about the importance of road safety by placing a real emphasis on understanding the Highway Code. Using an online driving simulator, children learn more about the theory of driving within a classroom environment. Goodyear also provides dual controlled cars with advanced driving instructors for children to get a feel of what it is like to do some basic moves including clutch work, braking, cornering, reversing, mirrors and indication. This training takes place within a safe environment in the school playground.
Goodyear have also introduced a parent pack that you can get hold of very easily that has useful information and tools to start helping our drivers of the future prepare for a lifetime on the roads. It talks through rules for pedestrians, which as a family that walks to school a lot along some very busy roads this is something we have been very keen on with our kids. It suggests letting kids be the leader when they are needing to cross a road and asking them afterwards what they feel they did right and what they might have done differently. We have recently had to have lots of ‘dry runs’ of crossing the roads as my son is just about to start senior school and will be catching buses from time to time.
The booklet covers speed limits, driving conditions, car maintenance and then some more information on the driving lesson itself. We particuarly liked the way that each section gave an opportunity to involve the kids, either by suggesting a game or giving them a chance to draw some of their ideas. The kids loved testing mum and dad on speed limits!! The pages have a fun layout with cartoon pictures and easy to follow instructions. We have found all of the kids leafing through it and my son was particuarly interested in all the statistics!!
It also has an online integrated mini-theory test, the kind you get asked in the highway code! It has a little driving game as well that gives the kids a chance to put into action the lessons they have learnt. We had a lot of fun playing that and it was good to see how much info he was actually taking on board!
The driving lesson itself was a massive hit with my son. We arrived and checked it at the brightly coloured yellow bus and he was off very quickly with his instructor. The lesson lasted an hour and in that hour he was taught the basics. How to start and stop, gear control, clutch control, turn in the road and general handling. They were kind enough to allow us to travel for a bit in the backseat and video a little. I was worried about distracting him but they said he would be fine. What struck me about it was how easy it is for them to get used to how a car feels to drive without having to worry about road users. They had roads marked out on the tarmac but ultimately they are able to make mistakes without worrying about other drivers. Like drive over a signpost!!I was surprised just how much my son was doing on his own. I had anticipated that the instructor would be using the dual pedals a lot but he was very good at allowing the driver to try things and find out for themselves whether or not it would work. I noticed he did slow him up a couple of times though when the speed got to him a bit!
It was a really hot morning but im sure my son would have probably stayed in the car for much longer and i know, for him, the hour sailed by.
It has given us a chance to talk to our son about how he might prepare himself for the world of driving especially as he is desperate to get behind the wheel. We have even learnt a few things ourselves!
Here is a little video compilation from his lesson!